Supervisors, Follow These 5 Tips to Help Manage Medical-Related Absences

Employees facing a serious illness or injury can be out of work for months at a time. That much time away can stress the employee and the entire department. And supervisors who want to provide the right support often don’t know how to help.

You can help make sure employees receive the support they need by following these five steps:                     

1. Start early. Plan ahead.

Develop your plan with the employee if you know in advance about something like hip replacement surgery. Talk about the expected time off for recovery and the process for returning back to work.

When the unexpected happens, work with your human resources representative to discuss all the steps while your employee is unable to work.

2. Get to know Work Connections.

You can benefit from case managers at Work Connections to help coordinate the delivery of medical information from providers, plan the employee’s return to work and more.

You will still be responsible for approving sick time, filling out FMLA paperwork, and making decisions that affect an employee’s pay. But Work Connections’ staff can partner with you to navigate what might be an unfamiliar course.

3. Help employees understand their responsibilities.

Your employee is responsible for doing certain things to make sure the process runs smoothly, like providing medical documentation to qualify for certain benefits.

If Work Connections is involved, the process is much smoother when the employee has authorized the release of medical information. This can help authorize payment of sick time and create a plan for returning to work.

When possible, talk with the employee about what will be required of them and when.

4. Don’t be afraid to check in.

Supervisors often wonder whether it’s ok to check in with an employee to see how they’re feeling. Not only is it ok, but most employees appreciate it. And research shows that it can actually create a smoother transition back to work.

5. Use checklists keep you on the right track.

Check out the Leaves of Absence section of the UHR website. There, you can find step-by-step checklists for employees and supervisors to help navigate a medical leave.

Resources available to you

The university offers a variety of services to help keep employees healthy, benefits for when they can’t work, and assistance bringing them back when the time is right.

Your human resources representative can help you sort through the details, but with these tips and resources, supervisors will be more prepared for a lengthy absence, even when it is unexpected.  

Read more about resources available to supervisors